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5 Public Programs that Lifted Millions of Women and Children Out of Poverty in 2013

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: October 16, 2014 at 11:16 am

In 2013, Social Security kept 12.0 million women and 1.2 million children out of poverty.

This new statistic can be calculated based on data released today by the Census Bureau. Also part of the release of new data is a report on the supplemental poverty measure (SPM) [PDF] which takes into account the impact of public programs, as well as medical out-of-pocket and other expenses on families’ economic security. (For more about poverty measurement, see our FAQ.)

This past September, the Census Bureau released the official poverty numbers for 2013, which showed that women’s poverty remained historically high, with 18.0 million women (14.5 percent) in poverty. Our report detailed what the numbers looked like and the trends over time. But what we didn’t get to see in that data was how many people’s incomes were pulled above the poverty line by specific public programs, some of which are counted in the official poverty measure and some of which aren’t. Today, we can delve deeper into how many people were lifted out of poverty by these programs and who they were.

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The Hobby Lobby Decision Takes a Fundamentally Flawed Approach to Reproductive Health

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: October 16, 2014 at 09:50 am

It is hard to underestimate the potential impact of the Supreme Court’s decision Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on women’s equality. That is the case in which the Court held that some for-profit corporations could refuse to provide health insurance coverage of birth control for their employees despite the federal contraceptive coverage law that required it. The Court’s decision, at heart, is rooted in a very old and very outdated misunderstanding about women. And that is the idea that women’s reproductive health is somehow “extra,” “different,” or “separate.” This fundamentally wrong assumption about women’s reproductive health has been used for ages to take away women’s rights. By reinforcing this dangerous approach to women’s reproductive health, the Court has put all aspects of women’s rights at risk. Here’s how it works:

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The Persistent Inequality in Women's Economic Security

Posted by Alana Eichner, Program Assistant | Posted on: October 16, 2014 at 09:36 am

Here at NWLC, the work we do on behalf of women and families recognizes that without economic security, women cannot truly achieve equality.  Take a quick glance at our latest numbers on women living in poverty, and you’ll see that we have a long way to go.

Data released last month from the Census Bureau showed the continuation of a long-standing reality – that women are far more likely to be poor than men.  The poverty rate for women was 14.5%, compared to only 11% for men. 11% is higher than pre-recession poverty rates for men, yet still lower than women’s record-low poverty rate, which was 11.5% back in 2000.  This disparity holds true across racial and ethnic groups— in 2013 Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women all had higher poverty rates than their male counterparts. 

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Raising The Wage is “Simple Common Sense”

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: October 10, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Shortly into the National Minimum Wage Day, we’re already getting good news of increased support to raise the minimum wage from some unexpected (but very welcome!) allies.

The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, has announced plans to name Kip Tindell as its chairman next month. Tindell is the CEO of the Container Store Group Inc., where he has prioritized an employee-focused business model by paying workers as much as double the typical retail wage and providing health care coverage even for part-time staff.

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Building Momentum to #RaiseTheWage

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: October 10, 2014 at 08:54 am

An article in Forbes yesterday pointed out that employers paying their employees the minimum wage are sending them a loud statement that “It’s not legally possible for me to value your work any less than I already do.” The article argues that’s a poor business practice, ensuring low morale and high turn-over. But it also raises a broader issue: what kind of message is Congress sending those employees?

A woman working full time, year round at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour earns just $14,500—more than $4,000 below the poverty line for a family of three. Congress has allowed these employees’ wages to decrease every year since the current level went into effect in 2009 by neglecting to tie the minimum wage to inflation, and it has yet to heed the President’s call to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Fortunately, states and cities across the country aren’t waiting for Congress to act.

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Closing the Wage Gap, for Everyone

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: October 09, 2014 at 01:43 pm

We’re listening. It’s important to us that our work includes all women. Here’s a statement from NWLC Co-President Marcia D. Greenberger on the Equal Payback Project.

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On Heartbreak and Butter Cake: A Dispatch from St. Louis

Genius organizer Ai-Jen Poo often talks about how home care workers and other domestic workers are the invisible workforce – performing life-sustaining work for low wages and no benefits day in and day out. But this week in St. Louis at the Home Care Workers Rising conference home care workers made their dreams and their struggles highly visible. They came together from across the country to hammer out plans for a better future for themselves, their children, and the consumers for whom they provide care.

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Latinas Deserve Fair Pay. It’s (Past) Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel | Posted on: October 08, 2014 at 09:09 am

October 8, 2014 is Latina Equal Pay Day and Matt Damon’s 44th birthday. Unfortunately, only one of those is an occasion for anyone to celebrate.

Last year, Latinas typically were paid just 56 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. That’s why today, more than 10 months into 2014, we’re marking the day when Latinas have finally been paid the same amount that white, non-Hispanic men were typically paid in 2013 alone. You read that right: it takes more than 21 months for Latinas to make what white, non-Hispanic men made in 12.

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